Youth employment & minimum wage rules – minimum wage does not prevent summer jobs


Frequently Asked Questions

This is directly quoted from the U.S. Government Dept. of Labor

Check out this quick and easy way to find answers to frequently asked questions about young workers.

For more information see the government “toolkit” for details: http://www.youthrules.dol.gov/support/toolkit/index.htm

What is the minimum age for work?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets 14 as the minimum age for most non-agricultural work. However, at any age, youth may deliver newspapers; perform in radio, television, movie, or theatrical productions; work in businesses owned by their parents (except in mining, manufacturing or hazardous jobs); and perform babysitting or perform minor chores around a private home. Also, at any age, youth may be employed as homeworkers to gather evergreens and make evergreen wreaths.

Different age requirements apply to the employment of youth in agriculture.

Many states have enacted child labor laws, some of which may have a minimum age for employment which is higher than the FLSA. Where both the FLSA and state child labor laws apply, the higher minimum standard must be obeyed.

What hours can youth work?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the minimum age for employment in non-agricultural employment is 14. Hours worked by 14 and 15-year-olds are limited to:

  • Non-school hours;
  • 3 hours in a school day;
  • 18 hours in a school week;
  • 8 hours on a non-school day;
  • 40 hours on a non-school week; and
  • The hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9 p.m.)

Youth 14 and 15 years old enrolled in an approved Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) may be employed for up to 23 hours in school weeks and 3 hours on school days (including during school hours).

The FLSA does not limit the number of hours or times of day for workers 16 years and older.

Many states have enacted child labor laws as well. In situations where both the FLSA child labor provisions and state child labor laws apply, the higher minimum standard must be obeyed.

Must young workers be paid the minimum wage?

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. However, a youth minimum wage of $4.25 per hour applies to employees under the age of 20 during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer. After 90 days, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay the full federal minimum wage.

Other programs that allow for payment of less than the full federal minimum wage apply to workers with disabilities,full-time students, and student-learners employed pursuant to sub-minimum wage certificates. These programs are not limited to the employment of young workers.

Do young workers need a work permit?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require that youth get work permits or working papers to get a job. Somestates do require work permits prior to getting a job. School counselors may be able to advise if a work permit is needed before getting a job.

What kinds of work can youth perform?

Regulations governing youth employment in non-agricultural jobs differ somewhat from those pertaining to agricultural employment. In non-agricultural work, the permissible jobs, by age, are as follows:

  • Workers 18 years or older may perform any job, whether hazardous or not;
  • Workers 16 and 17 years old may perform any jobs not deemed hazardous; and
  • Workers 14 and 15 years old may work outside school hours in certain specified jobs.

Fourteen is the minimum age for most non-agricultural work. However, at any age, youth may deliver newspapers; perform in radio, television, movie, or theatrical productions; work in businesses owned by their parents (except in mining, manufacturing, or on hazardous jobs); perform babysitting or perform minor chores around a private home. Also, at any age, youth may be employed as homeworkers to gather evergreens and make evergreen wreaths.

Different age requirements apply to the employment of youth in agriculture.

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